Police Investigate Death, Injuries Of Children In Alleged Exorcism

(Germantown, MD) -- A couple of Maryland women charged in the brutal deaths of two young children and the attempted murder of two others will appear in court on Tuesday. Investigators say the women believed they were exorcising demons from the children.

Dan Thornton, a pastor at a church in Hagerstown, told the "Washington Post" he counseled the mother, Zakeiya Avery, in late 2011. He says she suffered from mental illness. Avery's friend Monifa Sanford has also been charged. She lived with the family at the townhouse where the children were found Friday morning. The Maryland state medical examiner has ruled that the two younger children, ages one and two, died from multiple stab wounds. Avery's five and eight-year-old children remain hospitalized.
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Dan Thornton, a pastor at a church in Hagerstown, told the "Washington Post" Zakeiya Avery's children didn't appear to be troubled.
Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy says situations like this are heartbreaking.